Cong. resorted to vote trading: LJD

Surendran Pillai says the party had helped the BJP at Nemom in 2016 polls

March 22, 2021 01:00 am | Updated 01:01 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader V. Surendran Pillai, who contested as the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate in the Nemom constituency in 2016, has accused the Congress of trading votes with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) paving the way for his defeat.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Sunday, he said that some in the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) leadership were aware of this vote trading.

Info on vote trade

He said he had got information regarding the vote trade two days before the polling, by when it was too late to make amends.

“The Congress has a tradition of awarding seats to its allies and then trading votes to the opposite party. This happened at Nemom in 2011 too, when Charupara Ravi contested. Former KPCC President V.M. Sudheeran was the only leader who dealt honestly with this issue. After I lost, we raised the demand for an enquiry. The enquiry report recommended action against five Congress leaders, but it never saw the light of the day. Now BJP leader O. Rajagopal, who won from Nemom, has also confirmed this understanding,” says Mr. Pillai, who is with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) now.

Nemom seat in 2016

The UDF that won the Nemom seat in 2006 with 60,884 votes, found its vote share reduced to 20,248 in 2011 and 13,860 in 2016, when Mr. Pillai contested.

He rejected the claim by some UDF leaders that the constituency was lost because he was a weak candidate.

“For a candidate to be weak, there should either be some serious allegation against the person or there should be some failings in the campaigning or there should be a shortage of funds. We had no issues on these three counts. I have won twice before, in Punalur and Thiruvananthapuram West, and became a Minister. How could I have achieved all this if I were weak? All of them were with me for the campaigning, but they were with the UDF only during the day time,” says Mr. Pillai.

Mr. Pillai said that with Congress leader K. Muraleedharan in the fray this time in Nemom, the flow of votes to BJP could cease, giving an advantage to the LDF candidate.

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